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Report Highlights Efforts To Engage Communities To Address Child Abuse and Neglect

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently released a final evaluation report on their Child Safety Forward initiative.

Child Safety Forward is a nationwide, 3-year demonstration initiative funded by OVC to develop multidisciplinary strategies and responses to reduce fatalities or near-death injuries due to child abuse or neglect.

The Child Safety Forward Michigan (CSFMI) initiative created specialized workgroups to improve safety planning among child welfare professionals and to enhance services for families with low to moderate risk of maltreatment.

CSFMI team members mapped out perceived systemic barriers to safety planning and ways to overcome them. They also engaged persons with lived experience and learned that many parents did not know what a safety plan was, had complex situations with little or no support, and distrusted the child welfare system. However, parents also reported that they believed positive change was possible with the right support.

In response, CSFMI created six microtraining sessions on safety planning for all child welfare professionals in Michigan. Microtrainings are an education strategy that delivers content through short learning activities that can be consumed in a step-by-step approach. The existing microtrainings can be adapted and new ones created as the situation requires.

The team also reviewed fatality case data and found that many cases were opened and closed with no service provision, primarily due to a lack of available services. CSFMI proposed to expand the Family Resource Center (FRC) network in the state to fill this gap.

FRCs are designed to provide no- or low-cost support services that are responsive to the specific needs, cultures, and interests of a local community. CSFMI is working to expand the FRC network in Michigan to address abuse and neglect by engaging with families that are at-risk to meet their needs sooner and strengthen their protective factors.

Read the report to learn more about Michigan’s efforts to reduce fatalities or near-death injuries due to child abuse or neglect through this initiative.

In addition to CSFMI, OVC funded four other sites under the FY 2019 Reducing Child Fatalities and Recurring Child Injuries Caused by Crime Victimization demonstration initiative—

  • Indiana Department of Health;
  • Cook County Health, Illinois;
  • Sacramento County’s Child Abuse Prevention Council, California; and
  • Saint Francis Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut.

The recently released Child Safety Forward final evaluation report encompasses information and insights from all five demonstration sites.

Learn more about the Child Safety Forward initiative.

Date Published: October 13, 2023